John Friend, founder Anusara Yoga
I’m very much on the margins of popular yoga cliques. I don’t have a guru, I don’t wear Lululemon athletics, I don’t attend Kirtan (well, only when Bhagavan Das is in the building) so, when I came across this article in the Huffington Post I was totally unfamiliar with the John Friend brand.
Although I wasn’t familiar with Friend’s face I am familiar with the human habit of creating mythological figures out of regular ass humans with spiritual talents.
The yoga channel of self realization flows in both directions, as Iyengar so eloquently put it in this clip from the movie Enlighten Up, which means, practicing will either push you further into your ego or closer to your divinity, it’s your choice.
It’s obvious which door Friend chose. I’m not at all surprised and, I’m not sure it’s that serious. At the end of the day Friend, Bikram (who was the focus of a similar scandal) et al are all flawed humans, not Devi deserving of worship. Yoga is not a business, and situations like this one provide yet another reason for yoga practitioners to return to the spiritual elements of the practice and step away from branded, commercialized, human idol worshiping its become.
Just in case you missed the article on Yoga Dork. Here’s some of what Friend is being accused of
Accusation #1: JF as a Wiccan leader and the Wicca-Anusara Connection. (source:YogaDork)
JazmynYoga says: The spiritual beliefs associated with Wicca, a nature based spiritual philosophy, are complementary to the Hindu & Buddhist philosophy …duh, get over it.
Accusation #2: JF as Homewrecker and Sexual Deviant. (source:YogaDork)
JY says : yoga makes you horny, it’s rooted in Tantric practices after all… they were all consenting adults. duh, get over it.
Sidebar: If I didn’t know any better, I just might think that there was a conspiracy to undermine the growth of the yoga community. My spooky, New Age thinking says that these practices will issue in the Age of Aquarius, and that’s not good for the business…